In a progressive and democratic country like India, men and women ought to be treated equally by giving them equal rights, but that seldom happens. It’s more in the books because the actual picture reflects a different story.
Ours is a male dominated society by and large and be it at home or at office or any social scenario for that matter, majority of the significant decisions are taken by the male bastions and women are expected to nod in approval to their words. The scenario may be slowly changing, but the vast majority of the population agrees in totality to the male dominance prevalent in their lives.
The ‘new women’ of India
Women by nature don many hats through their lifetime. They are daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, aunts, friends for life and play many more such roles. When it comes to men on the other hand, they are looked up for their primary roles and the secondary ones become less important to them. But for a female, every role needs to be played with equal value and that is where the difference in society sets in.
If we look at the latest population census, the male to female ratio is quite alarming in our country. Blame it on female infanticide or the naturally declining birth rate of females, the scene is not very good.
The urban scene has changed much, thanks to improved education among the population, but the rural scene is still the same at many remote pockets of our country. Detection of sex during scans, though prohibited and considered totally illegal in our country, continue to be done by violation of laws at many hospitals at remote parts of our country.
Women, even today find it scary to venture out of their house, for the fear of being harassed in public transportation, for the fear of being abused by strangers outside their house, for the fear of harassment at work spots etc. Women travelling back home at night even today find the commute to be filled with a lot of fear and almost always take the help of fellow male members for their safety. Hence the ‘new women’ of this country are in no way encouraged or empowered and safety norms are still a big concern of the day.
Harassment of women
Domestic violence or harassment of women in their households, demanding dowry from married women, harassment at work place, passing lewd comments and molesting women – all these are illegal and are serious crimes and offences. But where is the point of seriousness in all these crimes when the law makers themselves do not take up such cases seriously.
Many such cases stay pending at courts even today with delayed or no judgements or worse, many police stations fail to accept a complaint when a needy woman approaches them for help.
This is the sorry state of our bureaucracy, steeped in corruption that actually vows to take care of its women by giving them adequate protection, but in reality actually does nothing to provide even the smallest help in times of crisis.
Educated women in urban locales find it difficult to manage both work and home, though women by nature are considered to be excellent multi-taskers. Yet, the husbands and in-laws at home question her dignity at every step and very rarely lend a helping hand to ease her burden. It is as though a woman is blessed with some super powers to manage everything in the house single handedly.
This happens even before the girl gets married off to her husband’s home. Mindsets may have been changed today, but the arrival of a male baby is more joyous to many families, when compared with the arrival of a female baby.
This type of discrimination starts at home, where the daughter of the house finds herself to be most secure from the most nascent days of her life. Girls in our society get so used to this kind of discrimination that they accept it as part of societal norms and seek male help for each and every small thing that takes place in their lives.
Women are expected to be protected by the male members of the house, at every stage of her life. First, the father does his part, and then comes the husband and later the son in her older days.
So, where is the ‘new women’ actually enjoying her life, it is only a myth to say that the scenario has changed. There has been sufficient scope for women empowerment today, yet at the grassroots level, things remain much the same and not ready to be altered.
Women’s education in our country
Today, we see participation of women in almost every field. You name it, and they are there, making a difference to the society and inspiring other women to follow in their footsteps. Women are educated well and can take on the world on their shoulders. This is mostly the urban scene that seems so advanced and forging forward.
If we go to rural households, we can still find that many girls, as young as five find it difficult to venture out of their house for achieving a good education for themselves. Parents fear going against the society and see their daughters nothing more than an object that needs to be married off after sometime.
It is different with the sons though. Sons are thought of as earning members of the family and those that can bring in a ‘good name’ for the family. Can daughters not do it is the big question. To put a question mark on their abilities would be weird in the first place, because both males and females are born with innate talents, only thing society discriminates while recognising them.
Social norms and the new women
It is a social norm prevalent almost everywhere that daughters ultimately need to be married off to their husbands in the future and that is where their future belongs to. Many insensitive and attention calling incidents at the in laws place go unnoticed and many a times, the society puts women at depression.
Even at workplaces, the male workforce harassing the female staff is not a new thing. Bosses commanding sexual favors from their female counterparts often instil fear and women don’t take up the courage to speak up against such harassment.
Reformation and laws
Women empowerment is a very important part of a country’s growth aspect and where women are ignored in a society, that nation can never see prosperity in its loop. But all the talk on women empowerment somehow fail at the doorstep and even today we find harassment, rape, molestation, dowry cases and many such social malpractices taking place at every nook and corner of our country.
So in totality, saying that women are empowered or the idea of a new woman in our country is fulfilled, ends up being a nice joke on a humorous note.
Society is becoming more acceptable to the changing face of women in today’s world, yet adequate steps for her protection under stringent laws are not provided to a good extent.
Strengthening women right from their roots and giving them a chance alongside the male bastion to forge forward and open their wings will see better and improved days for women.